FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 23JV-18-189],
HONORABLE TROY B. BRASWELL, JR., JUDGE
G. Brooks, Attorney at Law, PLLC, by: Brian G. Brooks, for
Rutledge, Atty. Gen., by: Brooke Jackson Gasaway, Asst.
Atty. Gen., for appellee.
T. WHITEAKER, Judge
Faulkner County Circuit Court adjudicated appellant K.F.
delinquent after finding that she had committed the offense
of endangering the welfare of a minor in the first degree as
an accomplice. On appeal, K.F. argues that the circuit court
erred in premising her criminal culpability on her status as
an accomplice, raising two subpoints: (1) she was not in the
class of persons who could statutorily commit the offense of
endangering the welfare of a minor in the first degree; and
(2) she did not solicit, advise, encourage, or coerce another
person to commit the offense of endangerment, nor did she
aid, agree to aid, or attempt to aid another person in
planning or committing the offense of endangerment.
Additionally, K.F. contends that there was insufficient
evidence to support the delinquency adjudication. We find
merit in her first argument on appeal, and we reverse and
Watkins is the mother of one-year-old K.W. Watkins hired
K.F.s sister, MaKayla Brewster, to babysit K.W. in Watkinss
home. Despite the original plan, Watkins agreed that MaKayla
would provide the babysitting duties in MaKaylas home. K.F.
and another friend, T.M., were at MaKaylas house while
MaKayla was in charge of the child. While MaKayla was
supervising K.W., T.M. posted a video to her Snapchat account
depicting two scenes. In the first scene, K.F. is activating
a taser or stun-gun device near K.W. while the baby is lying
on a bed. Although the video never actually shows the device
touching the baby, the audio portion reflects that K.W. is
crying. MaKayla is not seen in this scene until the very end
when she approaches K.W., who is still lying on the bed. In
the second scene, MaKayla is depicted slapping K.W. on the
head. K.F. is not present in the second scene, although T.M.
could be heard laughing and saying, "do it again."
The Conway Police Department investigated the incident, and
they obtained as evidence a "Cheetah Cyclone" stun
gun from K.F.s mother.
was subsequently charged with endangering the welfare of a
minor in the first degree. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-27-205(a)(1)
(Repl. 2013). The juvenile division of the Faulkner County
Circuit Court held an adjudication hearing. After hearing
testimony and viewing the Snapchat video, the court
adjudicated K.F. delinquent as an accomplice to the offense.
K.F. timely appealed.
Standard of Review
appeal, K.F. contends that she was not liable as an
accomplice. She frames the issue as "whether, under the
language of the controlling criminal statutes, K.F. could be
liable as an accomplice when she was not within the class of
persons who could commit the underlying offense of
endangering the welfare of a minor in the first degree and
she was the person who committed the act alleged to have
endangered the minor." Our analysis therefore requires
us to construe the language of both Arkansas Code Annotated
section 5-27-205— the endangerment statute— and
Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-2-403 (Repl. 2013)—
the statute providing for accomplice liability.
considering the meaning and effect of a statute, we first
construe it just as it reads, giving the words their ordinary
and usually accepted meaning in common language. Magness
v. State,2012 Ark. 16, 386 S.W.3d 390. When the
language is plain and unambiguous, we will not resort to
rules of statutory construction, and the analysis need go no
further. Id. ...